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Smartsheet shares jump as fiscal Q4 revenue, EPS top expectations, revenue view higher as well




Collaborative work management software company Smartsheet this afternoon reported fiscal Q4 revenue and profit that came in above analysts’ expectations and an outlook for this quarter’s revenue that was higher as well. 

The report sent Smartsheet shares higher in late trading

CEO Mark Mader remarked, “We continue to see positive market direction and growth, which contributed to a strong close to FY21.”, 

Added Mader, “This past year provided many learnings about how enterprises can invest to excel in a world where the future of work is defined by hybrid work. 

We look forward to innovating for our customers and providing the leading dynamic platform to empower teams and achieve better business outcomes.”

Revenue in the three months ended in December rose 40%, year over year, to $110 million, yielding a net loss of 4 cents a share.

Analysts had been modeling $103 million and -$.13 per share.

Smartsheet also offered a number of non-GAAP metrics to show progress in its business:

  • The number of all customers with annualized contract values (“ACV”) of $5,000 or more grew to 11,874, an increase of 31% year over year
  • The number of all customers with ACV of $50,000 or more grew to 1,515, an increase of 58% year over year
  • The number of all customers with ACV of $100,000 or more grew to 588, an increase of 68% year over year
  • Average ACV per domain-based customer increased to $5,103, an increase of 40% year over year
  • Dollar-based net retention rate was 123%

For the current quarter, the company sees revenue of $111 million to $112 million, and net loss per share in a range of 14 cents to 15 cents. That compares to consensus for $109 million and a 12-cent loss per share.

For the full year, the company sees revenue in a range of $500 million to $505 billion, and a net loss of 36 cents to 44 cents. That compares to consensus of $489 million and a 42-cent loss per share.

Tech Earnings

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Eftpos uses Beem It acquisition to build out QR payment system




Image: Eftpos

Eftpos has announced its new subsidiary Beem It will start building its national QR code utility that it hopes will be launched by the end of July.

Beem It was acquired by Eftpos from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the National Australia Bank, and Westpac in November.

At the time, Eftpos said the decision to purchase Beem It for an undisclosed amount was part of its plan to “continue to make inroads in the digital space”.

Despite owning Beem It, Eftpos CEO Stephen Benton said that following a global tender process, it selected Beem It to build the QR code utility because of its “previous experience with QR codes in the Australian market, the strength of its team, and its familiarity with the Eftpos network”.

“It was great that we have the right expertise to build the new QR payments utility inside the Beem It team and we can get to work right away,” he said.

The plan is for the national QR code utility to be low cost and to facilitate “many value adds” for merchants and consumers such as loyalty, offers, and receipts.

It said in December it foresees QR code payments being used on “almost all mobile devices and offer both consumers and merchants more benefits because of the data-rich format, while also providing lower costs and deeper customer engagement for Eftpos members”.

It is expected merchants and consumers will connect to the utility using a unique QR code presented by merchants. This enables consumers to initiate and transact with their preferred digital wallet.

“This innovative multi-interaction connectivity creates a new experience beyond payments, powered by Eftpos emerging APIs,” the company said on Thursday.

The national rollout is expected to be completed in 2022.

It is one of five key areas that the company will be focused on for the next two years as part of its digital strategy. Other areas of focus will include expanding its footprint within the mobile wallet space, e-commerce, delivering a digital identity solution, and continuing its API program with fintechs.

Eftpos said by 2022, it plans to deliver an all-in-one digital wallet that will bring together its digital identity solution, loyalty and rewards, electronic receipts, deposits and withdrawal functions, and QR code payment system.

“The Eftpos digital product strategy has been devised with an Australian focus, creating world-class innovations to compete against global players … we aim to do this by engaging with members, fintechs and retailers to make everyday payments easy, secure, smart and cost efficient,” Benton said previously.


New Payments Platform Australia to merge with Eftpos and BPAY

The three payments organisations have announced plans to amalgamate in a bid to improve local innovation and make the Australian payments landscape more competitive.

Eftpos launches peer-to-peer real-time payment service on Beem It

Touting deposits and withdrawals can now happen ‘in seconds’.

Eftpos to run Aussie Hedera Node as it joins the DLT platform’s governing council

The Australian payments company is hoping to participate in the development of ‘next-generation’ micropayments technology.


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PJCIS demands 23 changes before foreign entities get Australian data under IPO regime




The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has recommended the passage of the Bill that would pave the way for Australia to share communications data with other countries, but only if the government implements the 23 other recommendations it has made.

The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (International Production Orders) Bill 2020 (IPO Bill), if passed, would allow Australia to obtain a proposed bilateral agreement with the United States, in the first instance, under its Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD Act).

The IPO Bill is intended to amend the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (TIA Act) to create a framework for Australian agencies to gain access to stored telecommunications data from further foreign designated communication providers in countries that have an agreement with Australia, and vice versa.

But the committee has asked for a number of fixes to the TIA Act before waving through the IPO Bill.

Must read: Intelligence review recommends new electronic surveillance Act for Australia

One recommendation from the PJCIS is that these foreign agreements be published and tabled in the regulations, subject to Parliamentary scrutiny and a period of disallowance.

It also wants a disallowance period inserted into the TIA Act where arrangements with foreign parties are extended for another three years. The PJCIS does not require any arrangement extensions to be privy to Parliamentary scrutiny, but it does require a handful of prerequisites, with the first being the foreign government is prohibited from intentionally targeting an Australian citizen or permanent resident, either directly or through a non-Australian.

All interception activities of the foreign government, therefore, are only to be carried out for the purpose of obtaining information about communications of an individual who is outside of Australia.

Further clauses include that the foreign party must not be engaging in collection activities on behalf of the Australian government, or any other government, and that it not share the data it obtained with any other government.

The IPO Bill proposes three different types of international production orders that can be sought for three purposes. The types of production orders include interception of data, access to stored communications, and access to telecommunications data.

Such an order may be sought for the purpose of an investigation of an offence of a serious nature; or the monitoring of a person subject to a control order, so as to protect the public from terrorist acts, prevent support for terrorist acts and hostile acts overseas, and detect breaches of the control order; or the carrying out by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) of its functions.

It wants the Bill amended to also require ASIO to retain a copy of a particular document for three years, or for as long as any of the data obtained under an international production order is retained, whichever is longer; and retain all relevant materials supporting an application for international production order for this period.

See also: Australia’s tangle of electronic surveillance laws needs unravelling

The TIA Act, the PJCIS said, should also be amended to avoid “scope creep” — it has asked that an international agreement only be issued for the purpose of obtaining information relating to the listed criteria.

The committee also wants “urgent circumstances” defined in the TIA Act and powers inserted to define that ASIO’s Director-General of Security may only delegate powers to a senior position holder.  

The committee also wants the country seeking a designated international agreement with Australia to meet criteria, such as respect for the rule of law, human rights obligations, and clear legal procedures and restrictions governing the use of electronic surveillance investigatory powers.

With concerns raised on the possibility of Australia granting foreign law enforcement bodies with data that could be used to condemn an individual to death, due to countries such as the US still practising the death penalty as an example, the PJCIS said the relevant minister must receive a written assurance from the government of the foreign country “relating to the non-use of Australian-sourced information obtained by virtue of the agreement in connection with any proceeding for a death penalty offence in the country or territory”.

On the IPO Bill itself, it wants only officers or officials who are designated as authorised officers by the head of an enforcement agency to be given the ability to apply for IPOs. Due to this, when it comes to authorising an individual to be an authorised officer, the PJCIS has asked for a requirement that the head of an enforcement agency must be satisfied it is necessary for an individual to be an “authorised officer” in order for the individual to carry out his or her normal duties.

See also: Budget 2021: ASIO the big winner from AU$1.9 billion national security pool

Elsewhere, the PJCIS has asked that the government ensure the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman has sufficient resources to enable effective oversight of powers under the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018, as well as the IPO Bill.

It also wants assurance that the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security is given appropriate resources to enable effective oversight of ASIO regarding its proposed IPO Bill powers.

The PCJIS has asked as well that it be allowed to review the effectiveness and continuing need for an international production orders regime three years after the date on which the first designated international agreement comes into force.

Finally, the committee said it will wave the Bill through if all of its recommendations are addressed.

“The committee recommends that, following implementation of the recommendations in this report, the Bill be passed by Parliament,” it wrote.



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US agrees to remove Xiaomi from Communist Chinese military company list




Image: Getty Images

Xiaomi has been taken off the US government’s Communist Chinese military companies (CCMC) list, according to a court filing.

In the court filing [PDF], the Department of Defense agreed to remove Xiaomi from the list as it did not wish to appeal a federal court order that blocked the department from placing restrictions on the ability for domestic companies to invest in Xiaomi.

The court filing, submitted as part of a legal action raised by Xiaomi in February, brings an end to the scuffle between the Chinese company and the Department of Defense.

The scuffle first began in mid-January, when the Department of Defense added Xiaomi onto the CCMC list due to its belief that the company was procuring advanced technologies to support the Chinese military.

Companies placed on the CCMC list are subject to a Donald Trump executive order that prohibits US persons from trading and investing in any of the listed companies and bans trading in any new companies once the US has placed the CCMC label on them.

Immediately after Xiaomi received the designation, it criticised the move and denied having any ties with the Chinese military. This then led to the legal action between Xiaomi and the Department, which culminated in District Judge Rudolph Contreras’ order to temporarily stop Xiaomi from being added to the list as it would likely cause “irreparable harm” to the company.

In making that order, Contreras also said Defense’s justification for adding the Chinese company onto the list was made on “shaky ground”.

“Taken together, the Court concludes that Defendants have not made the case that the national security interests at stake here are compelling,” he said.  

Since the new year, US entities, such as the New York Stock Exchange, have struggled to handle the consequences and interpretation of the CCMC list. Across the month of January, the exchange said it would delist a trio of Chinese telcos, before changing its mind, and then it reverted to its original decision.

Other Chinese companies currently on the list include Huawei, Hikvision, Inspur, Panda Electronics, and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation.


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Victoria to begin work on recommendations arising from gig economy probe




Image: Getty Images

The Victorian government will provide AU$5 million, as part of its 2021-22 Budget, to create new standards aimed at providing more protection for gig economy workers.

The funding will be used to help implement 20 recommendations that arose from the Victorian government’s inquiry into the On-Demand Workforce, which uncovered how platforms have been deliberate in framing their arrangements with workers to avoid complying with workplace laws and paying associated costs. 

With the funding in tow, the Victorian government said it would “begin immediately” work on setting principles-based standards to provide fairer conditions for on-demand workers and ensure platforms operate transparently.

The AU$5 million will also be used to develop fair conduct and accountability standards together with industry and unions so there are shared principles on work status, fair conditions and pay, worker representation, and safety.

“All too often, gig economy workers have found themselves in a situation that looks and feels like an employment relationship. However, existing mechanisms to determine one’s work status — such as courts and tribunals — are often slow, costly and inaccessible,” the Victorian government said.

The inquiry, launched back in September 2018, specifically examined the treatment of workers and how they were remunerated. Chaired by former Fair Work Ombudsman, Natalie James, the inquiry was commissioned by the Victorian government following widespread concern over the wages and conditions offered to workers in the gig economy.  

Since the end of last year, the New South Wales government has also been investigating whether changes are needed within the gig economy. The investigation was prompted after a series of fatalities that involved food delivery riders occurred over a three-month period.

On the platform side, Menulog announced last month it would trial an employment model, and give its couriers access to insurance cover, fair pay, leave entitlements, and superannuation as part of efforts to “enhance the life standards of couriers”.

At the same time, other gig economy platforms, like Uber, have continued to deny having an employer-employee relationship with their drivers. Uber is currently facing a Federal Court appeal from a former delivery worker who alleges they were unfairly sacked and should be classified as an employee. 

Victorian courts receive AU$210 million package to expand IT and digital upgrades

Victoria’s legal system will receive a combined AU$210 million funding boost to help drive down its COVID-19 backlog and expand IT and digital upgrades.

Of that package, which is part of next week’s state budget, AU$34.8 million will be used to provide extra court resources, such as new case management programs, expanded online services, the appointment of additional judicial officers, court support staff, and remote-hearing services.

The Online Magistrates Court, which was expanded during the pandemic, will receive $40.9 million in funding, including two new magistrates and more courtrooms.

AU$56.7 million has also been allocated towards accelerating the digitisation of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) so more of its hearings can be heard online.

“The coronavirus pandemic showed that court services can be delivered differently, and we want to see that continue — with more digital services delivering a faster and more flexible justice system for more Victorians,” Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes said.

During the pandemic, VCAT started using a new platform that digitised its paper files and processes, automatically allocated correspondence to the relevant case in Dynamics 365, managed payment and decision notifications, and managed information and work processes across the division. Prior to the shift, it was relying on paper-based and manual processes.


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